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Tokyo stages mass anti-nuclear rally

Thousands voice concerns ahead of Fukushima disaster anniversary at Japan PM’s plans to restart plans `if safe’.
 
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2013 15:58
Nobel laureate writer Kenzaburo Oe, right, was among the speakers at an anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo [AFP]

Thousands of people have rallied in Tokyo to demand an end to atomic power two years after the nuclear disaster in north-eastern Japan.

Organisers said disaster victims and celebrities were among an estimated 15,000 people at a central Tokyo park on Saturday, two days ahead of the second anniversary of the disaster that killed 19,000 and sparked reactor meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Only two of Japan’s 50 working nuclear reactors have been put back online since the disaster. This is partly because of waves of protests like Saturday’s that mark the biggest public demonstrations in Japan since the 1960s movement against the Vietnam War.

Reactor restarts 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative Liberal Democratic Party has close ties with the nation’s powerful business circle. He has repeatedly said he would allow reactor restarts if their safety could be ensured.

I am going to fight to prevent any more reactors from being restarted

– Kenzaburo Oe,
Nobel Prize-winning writer

Protesters marched through the capital later in the day and issued a statement that called on Abe to dismantle all nuclear plants.

“The new administration should not misunderstand that the victory can mean approval of policies to maintain nuclear power,” the statement said in reference to the December elections of Abe and his party.

“We will request policies to swiftly begin procedures in decommissioning nuclear reactors and disapprove any plans to newly build nuclear plants.”

Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburo Oe received huge cheers from the protesters gathered in the park when he spoke of lessons learned from the atomic bombings of Japan at the end of World War II.

“I am going to fight against those who act as though Hiroshima, Nagasak and Fukush ima never happened,” Oe said.

“I am going to fight to prevent any more reactors from being restarted.”

Another big Tokyo rally has been planned for Sunday. Commemorative services will be held on Monday throughout the nation to mark the disaster.

Class-action lawsuit

Less under the spotlight on Monday will be a class-action lawsuit being filed against the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, the utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi, that demands all land, the natural environment and homes be restored to their state before March 11, 2011.

The lawsuit in Fukushima District Court has drawn people from all backgrounds together, including farmers, fishermen and housewives.

Izutaro Managi, one of the lawyers, said there were 800 plaintiffs so far and that number could grow.

“We can’t believe the government is thinking about restarting the reactors after the horrendous damage and human pain the accident has caused,” Managi said.

“It is tantamount to victimising the victims one more time.”

Two years after the disaster, 160,000 people have left their homes around the plant, entire sections of nearby communities are still ghost towns, and fears grow about cancer and other sicknesses the spewing radiation might bring.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/03/201339122824335496.html

Thousands in Tokyo anti-nuclear protest

FORTOKYOPROTEST_CROP_1WEB_WEB

Sat, Mar 9, 2013, 13:09

Irish Times

Thousands of people rallied in a Tokyo park today, calling for an end to atomic power and vowing never to give up the fight, despite two years of little change after the nuclear disaster in north-eastern Japan.

Gathering two days ahead of the second anniversary of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that sent the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into multiple meltdowns, demonstrators said they would never forget the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl, and expressed alarm over the government’s eagerness to restart reactors.

“I can’t see what lies ahead. It looks hopeless, but if I give up now, it’s over,” said Akihiro Nakata, a 47-year-old owner of a construction company, who had a drum slung around his shoulder. “I’d rather die moving forward.”

Only two of Japan’s 50 working nuclear reactors have been put back online since the disaster, partly because of continuous protests like today’s, the first time such demonstrations have popped up in this nation since the 1960s movement against the Vietnam War.

People have thronged Tokyo parks on national holidays, and have gathered outside the parliament building every Friday evening. The demonstrations have drawn people previously unseen at political rallies, such as commuter “salarymen” and housewives. Organisers said today’s demonstration drew 13,000 people.

Two years after the disaster, 160,000 people have left their homes around the plant, entire sections of nearby communities are still ghost towns, and fears grow about cancer and other sicknesses the spewing radiation might bring.

But the new prime minister elected late last year, Shinzo Abe, hailing from a conservative party that fostered the pro-nuclear policies of modernising Japan, wants to restart the reactors, and maybe even build new ones.

The protesters said they were shocked by how the government was ignoring them.

“I am going to fight against those who act as though Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima never happened,” Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburo Oe told the crowd, referring to the atomic bombings preceding the end of the Second World War. “I am going to fight to prevent any more reactors from being restarted.”

The demonstrators applauded, waving signs and lanterns that read “Let’s save the children” and “No nukes”. Some were handing out leaflets, pleading to save animals abandoned in the no-go zone.

Kazuko Nihei, 36, was selling trinkets and soap that mothers, like her, who had fled Fukushima had made, hoping to raise funds for children’s health check-ups and their new lives in Tokyo.

“When the government talks about recovery, they are talking about infrastructure. When we talk about recovery, we are talking about the future of our children,” she said.

Another big Tokyo rally was planned for tomorrow. A concert tonight was to feature Oscar and Grammy-winning musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the most vocal opponents of nuclear power. Commemorative services will be held on Monday throughout the nation to remember the nearly 19,000 people who died in the disaster.

Less under the spotlight on Monday will be a class-action lawsuit being filed against the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co, the utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi, demanding all land, the natural environment and homes be restored to their state before March 11th, 2011.

The case in Fukushima District Court is unusual in drawing people from all walks of life, including farmers, fishermen and housewives, because of the wording of the damage demand.

It has drawn 800 plaintiffs so far, a remarkable number in a conformist culture that frowns upon any challenge to the status quo, especially lawsuits. That number may grow as people join the lawsuit in coming months. A verdict is not expected for more than a year.

“We can’t believe the government is thinking about restarting the reactors after the horrendous damage and human pain the accident has caused,” Izutaro Managi, one of the lawyers, said. “It is tantamount to victimising the victims one more time.”

Kazuko Ishige, a 66-year-old apartment manager who was at the rally with a friend from Fukushima, said she was sick of the government’s lies about the safety of nuclear plants.

“I am really angry,” she said. “I am going to have to keep at it until I die.”

AP

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/thousands-in-tokyo-anti-nuclear-protest-1.1320712

March 9, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. […] Tokyo stages mass anti-nuclear rally (nuclear-news.net) […]

    Pingback by No more Fukushimas, Japanese say | Dear Kitty. Some blog | March 10, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] Tokyo stages mass anti-nuclear rally (nuclear-news.net) […]

    Pingback by How Come We Don’t Hear Much About The Fukushima Nuclear Plant? | Stirring Trouble i | April 26, 2013 | Reply


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